'American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace' is killer

The show attempts to answer the questions of who or why someone would want Versace, a seemingly humble and brilliant creator, dead. (Twitter/@ACSFX)

Following the critically acclaimed first season of “American Crime Story,” revolving around the OJ Simpson trial, the second season details the assassination of fashion designer Gianni Versace.

Starring Darren Criss, Edgar Ramirez, Ricky Martin and Penelope Cruz, the series’ second season is as packed with stars as the first.

Directed by the mastermind behind “Glee” and “American Horror Story,” Ryan Murphy manages to show the humanity of the fashion tycoons who are Gianni and Donatella Versace.

Gianni Versace is presented as a likeable, creative and intelligent businessman, grateful for his success yet conscious of his desire to maintain a somewhat normal lifestyle.

In depicting his daily routine of walking to the nearest cafe, buying copious fashion magazines and humbly admitting that he did not want to sign an autograph that morning, the viewer is set up for the devastation of the loss of such a wholesome person.

With a slew of award-winning writers and actors, it is hard for a show like this to go wrong, and it didn’t. Everything from the costuming to the scenery screams summer in the 1990s, and I am here for it.

Despite their acting abilities and the skill of Murphy, the fact that most of the actors portraying the protagonists are of Latin descent is not to be overlooked.

Penelope Cruz depicts Donatella Versace, the sister of Gianni, as a calculating and strong business woman and dedicated sister, but her Spanish accent is markedly not Italian. While Edgar Ramirez is from Venezuela, his accent is more subtle.

In creating a show depicting the life of a famous Italian, it would have been a prime opportunity to offer fame and recognition for little known or up and coming Italian actors.

Nevertheless, the show’s depiction of how Donatella took over the business immediately following the death of her brother is admirable. Donatella recounts how her brother fostered the thriving company from a singular rack of clothes in Milan and his ideas.

Adding such pathos futhers the emotion felt in Versace’s death.

On the contrary, Versace’s killer, Andrew Cunanan played by Darren Criss, is portrayed as a complete sociopath. A pathological liar, Cunanan lies about his past and present.

Spinning tales about his childhood on a pineapple plantation and his fictional proposal from Versace, Cunanan even admits his profession is being a serial killer when asked by another man at a gay club.

In reality, Cunanan was the son of an Italian-American and a Filipino-American, so the choice in casting Criss, a Eurasian himself, accurately portrays this.

The show ignites genuine curiosity about the life of Versace and the history of his company, as well as Cunanan’s life and his motivation in his string of killings.

Killing five people in the span of three months, Cunanan spiraled quickly and was extinguished equally fast.

Aside from the lack of proper accents and training in that regard, the show has excellent acting, costumes, script and a renowned director. “The Assassination of Gianni Versace” engages the viewer, switching from flashbacks to the present, as in the summer of 1997, and slowly explores the short-lived relationship between Versace and his assassin.

The show attempts to answer the questions of who or why someone would want Versace, a seemingly humble and brilliant creator, dead.

Rating: 4/5


Abby Brone is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at abigail.brone@uconn.edu.